‘I’ve never seen radio talked about more’: Fifi Box isn’t worried about Kyle & Jackie O

Fifi Box, Brendan Fevola and Nick Cody started the 2024 rating season off with a bang, taking the top spot in the fiercely contested Melbourne breakfast radio slot for The Fox.

In doing so, they knocked Christian O’Connell’s GOLDFM show from the top spot and sent a warning signal to anyone coming for their FM crown.

Like, say, Kyle and Jackie O, who launched into the Melbourne market this week, after topping Sydney breakfast FM radio for 40 straight surveys under ARN, and ruling the airwaves for a solid decade before that.

Fifi Box argues their breakfast crowns aren’t newly fitted, pointing out to Mumbrella they’ve held the top spot in Melbourne breakfast radio a number of times over the years – and, when taking into account cumulative listeners, “we’ve had the biggest audience for years now”.

“To get that share going up, in terms of time spent listening was great, and we’re really proud of it because we know we’re making a great show,” she says.

Box points to the friendship between the three as key to this continued success.

“You can’t make chemistry, you can’t force it. It is what it is,” she explains. “And we’re just doing what we love. To get that confirmation from the audience here in Melbourne is huge.”

The Melbourne angle will be important in solidifying the difference between themselves and any interstate interlopers. A splashy new advertising campaign makes this clear, framing the show as ‘Melbourne’s Biggest Party’ with the trio filming across multiple Melbourne locations.

“We think it’s important for a few reasons,” Box says of the local angle.

“One, we believe in waking up and connecting with the city that we’re in. And I know I’ve been doing this for 20, 25 years now. I’ve done drive shows, I’ve done breakfast shows, and there’s something about breakfast where you want to reflect what’s happening to the people in your city, in the suburbs around us.

“We are three Melbournians, we’re born and bred here. We know this city. And we actually believe it is different to other cities in Australia. There are specific nuances about that. It is our city and we’re proud of that. That’s something we’ve been proud of last year, the year before that. That’s, you know, been a big part of our show.”

All three reject the premise that this local focus is a reaction to anything other than a love for the city they call home, pointing to the success of their Brekky In The Burbs series over the past two years, where every week they go to a suburb in Melbourne and host the show from there, bringing big-name musical acts along for “a big street party”.

“It’s not reactionary,” Box notes. “It’s not something we’ve just started. This is something we’ve been doing for years. We’re proud to be a Melbourne breakfast show.”

Cody likens the show to “a party coming through your speakers every morning”, saying, “It’s just such a good vibe.”

In the evening hours, Cody works as a standup comedian, where he admits the vibe can skew negative. As a comic, he has also previously done the rounds of other radio stations, experiences he found “just flat and a bit dull” for all involved.

“Whereas here, it’s just a good mood,” he explains. “Everyone’s up and about. It’s fun. The show’s funny. That’s great.”

Aside from “good coffee”, Fevola points to the fact he and Fifi have been working together since 2016, with Cody joining in early 2021, as one of the team’s strengths. “That’s sort of heritage breakfast,” he explains of the rapid turnover in radio.

“I remember when I was a kid, I used to listen to The Fox,” he recalls. “I used to love listening to the radio – people getting giveaways and cash and holidays and I used to think how cool that was. I never thought I’d be in radio ever in my lifetime — obviously being a footballer —  but being able to connect with our listeners, we’re throwing parties all year. It’s just so rewarding and giving.”

Fevola also notes the unique beast that is breakfast radio, even when compared to other time slots across the day. Where drive is about fun at the end of the day, breakfast radio involves a softer touch.

“I think that’s just the beauty of breakfast radio… we’re driving people to work, and some people might not want to be going to work,” he reasons.

“They might be going to go to work, another day, tired, but we try to make them as happy as they are can be in the car.

“I take such pride in that and I know Fi and Nick do as well. So, as soon as we come on the air, we try to make every break as funny as we can, because we know that people in the car are listening and they want to have a laugh. So, whatever’s going on in their lives or our lives, we all connect with each other. We are a big family.”

As touched upon, the big looming unknown is what impact Kyle and Jackie O will have on the breakfast radio landscape. Box isn’t willing to concede any ground – and believes the competition will help elevate the medium.

“The one thing that I’m taking away from all of this: I’ve never seen radio talked about more,” she says. “It’s a great thing. It’s actually really exciting, because we love radio and radio is a really powerful medium. And we see that. You know, we’ve got a connection with our listeners and this city that it’s reflected back to us all the time through our callers and through our social media.

“So, we know the power of radio, and it’s never been more exciting to be part of the industry. But we’re just going to keep doing what we’re doing. And that’s what we’ve done.

“People are saying, ‘are you listening to this or that?’ No! We’re just doing what we love.

“And guess what? There’s lots of audience, you know? If you love our show, listen. If you don’t, there’s other options.”

As the conversation winds to a close, Fevola has one more question to ask.

“When do Kyle and Jack start?”


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